Almost all the ancient civilizations identified four similar basic elements: earth, air, fire, and water. I believe there’s a part within all of us—even in our modern times, where many of us are disconnected from the seasons and cycles of the earth—that resonates with this concept. Think about it: earth corresponds to winter and north, air to spring and east, fire to summer and south, and water to fall and west. It just makes sense at an intuitive level.

This is why we’ve selected the four elements as our inspiration for 2020.

This winter issue is filled with stories about grounding, stability, perseverance, nourishment, potential—all characteristics of the earth element.

We consider the earth under our feet (spoiler alert: it’s less stable than we’d like to think). We take a look at what life was like for Comox Lake’s early loggers, and we explore the future of the snowpack that’s vital to our ecosystem.

On the more human side, we meet women who spin wool from sheep they raised themselves, visit a century-old farm, explore the appeal of role-playing games, and set off in search of elk.

We commemorate a 40th birthday and look forward to the year 2040 with optimism about how our communities might change over the next 20 years and how current planning processes, political leadership and broader social, environmental and economic trends might shape the Comox Valley of the future.

And, as we do in every issue, we celebrate the goodness of the people and places, inspirations and innovations of the Comox Valley.

Not so long ago, lakes here would freeze and snow would be so frequent and abundant that logging and other activities would cease during the winter months. Nowadays, winters are gentler, though the hours of sunlight are brief, the winds can rattle your bones, and the grey settles over the Valley like a damp wool blanket.

It’s time to heed that ancient, inner impulse to hunker down, stay warm and dry, feed yourself nourishing meals, and wait out the shorter days. The planet will be tilting towards the sun soon enough. Until then, root yourself in your surroundings and honour the season of earth.